My life is more dramatic than a Lifetime movie. And I'm not even exaggerating a little bit! Follow along on Instagram @thedixiebellediaries
Southern millennial trophy wife. Interests include smocked baby clothes, Jenny Lind high chairs, college football, wine, acting fancy, and being basic.
Childhood Cancer

Keeping Up with the Mazzolas

So it’s been awhile…

I have not felt like writing lately, but I think I have snapped myself out of the funk that I’ve been in for the past few weeks. Just to catch y’all up on what’s been going on with the Mazzola Circus, I’ll start where I seem to have left off/lost my mojo.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the hospital completing round two of chemo. That was also the first time I was pretty much left alone to care for/ run after/ entertain Reese in the hospital. Up until this point, I had had Matt available to me all the time. But this time was different because this was the week that Matt had to spend at orientation– getting acclimated to the hospital and what he would be doing as a resident. Being alone with an energetic child all day long is exhausting. Entertaining him and being trapped inside a hospital on a perfectly sunny day is a special kind of torture for me. I would give anything to be able to take him wherever I damn well please– swimming sounds nice. That’s what we would normally be doing, anyway.

 

One bright spot amidst all of this was a visit from my sister, my childhood best friend, and one of Matt’s best friends from college. Once Reese was discharged after finishing up round two, we were clear to play all week, so we did just that. We went to the zoo, we played with trains, and we hung out at my parents’ pool. Lots of time with family and friends. And it did wonders for my soul.

If I thought life was tough before this next week, then I just have to laugh at myself. Because it got harder.

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Because it involves all of my favorite things– America, fireworks, drinking, summertime, swimming, homemade ice cream, barbecue, fresh watermelon– I could literally go on and on. But this Fourth of July sucked. I spent the Fourth driving Reese down to MUSC in Charleston to get admitted for the stem cell harvest. Alone. Matt started residency the day before, so he was unavailable. After the debacle that was getting all of our sh*t up to our hospital room on the seventh floor while not being allowed to leave my car unattended, we finally made it up there and got settled in for the night, thinking we would be starting the stem cell harvest the following morning. WRONG. His counts were too low, so we had to put that off until the next day. Imagine entertaining an energetic toddler boy in a hospital room (he wouldn’t wear his mask, so we couldn’t really go anywhere besides the room since his immunity was basically zero) all day by yourself. Do you think that sounds like fun? It wasn’t. And do you know what made it even more difficult? I was nine weeks pregnant at the time, and after two pregnancies without any nausea and one with occasional vomiting, full-on morning sickness decided to grace me with her presence. Fourth time’s the charm, right? I was throwing up all day. Couldn’t keep anything down. It was horrible. It lasted for the entirety of our stay. Thankfully my mom was able to come down to stay with us and help me entertain Reese, but those first couple days were a doozy.

By Thursday, his counts were high enough, and the doc sedated him to place a catheter in his femoral vein. They were able to collect 9million stem cells that day, but our goal was 15million. This meant the catheter had to remain in place overnight– not fun because he wasn’t able to walk with it. Thankfully Friday’s harvest yielded 23million stem cells. So basically, we now have twice as many as we need in storage, should we need them in the future. We were able to go home Friday night after what seemed like the longest four days ever.

It was so nice to be home and spend time with Matt on his first day off. We spent the day on the river (ignore my stank face in the picture of just me– I’m sure Matt had said or done something to annoy me as the shot was taken), and we ended the evening with a mommy and daddy date. We went to Studio Cellar and painted some canvases. That place is amazing. It was our first time going, but we will definitely be back. They serve beer and wine, and they teach painting classes, or they let you paint by yourself– which is what we did. I don’t like following other artists’ directions, so painting classes aren’t really up my alley.

The past couple of weeks haven’t been great, but I think I’m starting to see the light, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep y’all more up-to-date from now on. Sorry for leaving you hanging for so long!

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